Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 Review


Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Tini Howard
Art by: Nikola Čižmešija, Mike Hawthorne, Wade Von Grawbadger, Mark Morales
Colors by: Romuleo Fajardo Jr.
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover art by: Jorge Jimenez
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: October 31, 2023

Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 brings the Gotham War to a close as Vandal Savage enacts his endgame for ultimate power that could wipe out everyone around him.
Is Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 Good?

In the interests of full disclosure, I started this review in a completely different way but deleted all of it because there is no way to adequately describe and critique Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 without using profanity-laced rants. Therefore, we shall tone it down to the degree humanly possible for an all-ages audience. This comic is stinky doo-doo.

When last we left Batman, Catwoman, and the extended Bat-family, Vandal, and Scandal Savage bequeathed Bruce's poorly secured gadgets from the Batcave to a cadre of Batman's rogues to create chaos in the streets of Gotham City. Meanwhile, Vandal wrested control of Selina's Henchmen Union for himself with the promise of immortality as long as the henchmen acquired fragments of an ancient meteorite spread out across Gotham City.

Now, the Batfamily battles the Bat-gadget-enhanced rogues while Batman and Catwoman track down Vandal Savage to learn the immortal caveman intends to coax down the larger meteorite brother of the meteorite that gave Vandal his immortality and created the Lazarus Pits. It's up to Batman and Catwoman to stop Vandal before he brings down a meteorite big enough to wipe out the Eastern seaboard and grant Vandal unlimited power for all time.

What a mess! Normally in these reviews, I try to give a compare and contrast series of sections to balance out the good with the bad, but there's no point in Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 because it's all bad.

How did Vandal Savage manage to "call down" a meteor to Earth? It's not explained.
How did Jason Todd expect to stop a van-sized meteor by flying into it with a Bat-jet? That's physically impossible.

When the largest chunk of the meteor hits the observatory, why isn't the surrounding area obliterated for miles? It's not explained.

How is Tim Drake able to hold his breath for so long and fight at peak performance while billowy clouds of Fear Toxin mixed with Joker Toxin are wafting all around him?

If Batman had all this dangerous gadgetry and a dangerous piece of the original meteorite in the Batcave, why didn't he lock everything down or move it somewhere else instead of leaving everything in simple glass cases?
How did Selina survive falling into the meteor, and why did she not tell anybody until weeks later?
What happened to Vandal Savage?
After everything that's happened, why is everyone, including Selina, still acting as if this is all Batman's fault?

The more you read this issue, the more baffling it becomes. Plot points come out of nowhere without setup, explanation, or an ounce of believability. The only way this plot works is if everyone, including Batman, lacks sense and reason. And by the time you're done, you just want it to be over so you can forget it ever happened.

This isn't just a bad comic. This is a bad event, and everyone who had a hand in its creation should be embarrassed.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Batman / Catwoman: The Gotham War - Scorched Earth #1 is unintentionally scarier than the Knight Terrors event because it's terrifying that DC allowed such an embarrassingly bad comic to ever see the light of day. The story is nonsensical, plot points come out of nowhere, things happen that aren't possible, nobody acts with any sense or reason, and everyone is still acting as if the biggest problem with what happened in this "war" is Batman. Two points for mediocre art.



  1. Thank you for your well thought and on point reviews for this "event". As awful as the issues were, your reviews were the only thing to look forward to. You tried to be fair to these issues on several points, they were just so badly written that even when one approached them with good faith it still wouldn't matter in the end. I can't put into words how infuriatingly out of character every single character was in this arc ( to say nothing of the nonsensical plot). Both Howard AND Zdarsky should be off these books ( Rosenberg off Redhood too) . Most people try to shift it all to Howard but Zdarsky's writing has been horrible for a good number of issues. It's just another case of let's absolutely tear down the hero without building him back up that King did, Zdarsky just masks it better and gets away with it.

    1. I just want to add that aside from the objectively bad writing, as a matter of personal opinion I hate the whole idea of Zur. Batman is NOT Moonknight. He has no other personalities, dissociation disorder or any number of psychotic undertones that some writers insist on giving him despite his well recorded history of being a very rational and mindful detective (albeit a emotionally closed off or private one). The amount of capabilities he has and trainings he has put himself through to get to this point that despite being a normal human he has peak physical condition and leading abilities to be a key member of JL would not allow him to be written in this way. He simply would calculate the risks of installing a personality like this in his mind more than the benefits(it's crystal clear to a normal person let alone someone like him) and would instead think of something else. Failsafe was a fine idea, I could see him building a machinery to achieve it but to endanger his greates weapon, his mind to do so? Nope. He has many many faults or shortcomings as a man but not this. Write him as paranoid, cold or even depressed but he simply isn't psychotic, his choices including his moniker and approach to crime fighting has rational reasoning behind it and is purposeful, sure one could be against it but it doesn't make it delusional, it would be just not right. Again, one of the things that makes him and Moonknight different is this different approach they took to their characters despite similar aesthetics.